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Setting Bail After Your Fail 

            “BAIL IS SET AT $100000000.00!!!” When people hear the word “bail”, the majority will picture a judge swinging their Mjolnir sized gavel whilst screaming through clenched teeth and a face painted cherry-red with rage.

While the physical characteristics of the dream-judge may mirror certain members of the bench in your own town, it’s an exaggeration and miss-characterization to describe bail so high that it’s impossible for a defendant to even think about the possibility of posting the sum.  Nor is a judge setting bond because they are angry at the defendant and their alleged crimes. This is because most people think of bail as punishment rather than it’s intended purpose: collateral.

Bail is set in a defendant’s case for several reasons, but the main intention behind setting bail is to make sure that the defendant appears for hearings/trial.  No one is surprised to learn that many defendants, if left unsupervised, would flee the jurisdiction in an instant rather than facing the emotional and mental stress associated with defending criminal charges, or worse, jail sentences.  By requiring a defendant to supply the Court with an amount of money, they are ensuring the defendant appears or else they will forfeit the money the paid.  If the defendant does appear, the money is returned to its rightful owner…typically a bondsman since few people carry thousands of dollars in cash.

When setting bail, the Court will use any one or more of the following factors to determine whether to set bail, and the amount it will be set:

  • The nature of the offense and any mitigation or aggravation regarding it
  • The defendant’s employment history and financial condition
  • The defendant’s family relationships (i.e. children)
  • The length and nature of the defendant’s residence in the community and past residence
  • The defendant’s age, reputation, and mental condition
  • The defendant’s history regarding his or her failure to appear in the past
  • The defendant’s prior criminal history
  • Any other factors the court may find relevant in this analysis

 

No one factor is controlling, nor are the factors available for consideration limited to this list.  If you or someone you know (since you’d likely be in jail) have been charged with a crime and are seeking that bail be set or lowered, it is critical that you contact an attorney immediately to represent you.  While these factors may seem self-explanatory, it is extremely difficult defining specific instances and events that match these factors such that bail can be reduced/vacated.  Call Calabrese Legal Services immediately if you or a loved-one have been charged with a crime.

 

By Tancredi W. Calabrese, Esquire MBA

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